Air International 2006-09
News: Headline, Military, Civil, Airshow
Brazilian Air Force Mirage 2000B FAB 4932 (left) and Mirage F-2000C FAB 4940 (right) plus personnel from 1’ Grupo de Defense Aerea/1 Escuadrao during the unveiling ceremony for the aircraft in their new Brazilian Air Force markings at BA115 Orange-Caritat, France, on June 20, 2006.
Although not announced at the time, the latest edition of Eurocopter's house magazine Rotor reveals that the first NH90 in NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) configuration for the French Navy, test registration F-ZWTO, made its first flight from Marignane on May 12, 2006. The one hour ten minute flight was performed by a Eurocopter test crew comprising pilot Philippe Boutry, flight test technician Jean-Claude Rabany and flight test engineer Philippe Bagur.
Seen arriving at Manaus Air Base on August 7, 2006 is UH-60L Black Hawk FAB 8901, the first of the type for the Brazilian AirForce.
It was the end of an era at 1642hrs on July 28, 2006 on board the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) in the western Atlantic Ocean when F-14D Tomcat 163417 'AJ-112' from VF-31 'Tomcatters' launched from catapult three, assisted by considerably more ground crew than would normally be necessary. This was the final operational catapult launch of a Tomcat after the type's more than 32 years of USN service. VF-31, the last F-14 squadron, will commence transitioning to the F/A-18E Super Hornet in October.
New low-fare Indian carrier IndiGo took delivery of its first Airbus A320 on July 28, 2006, when A320-232 VT-INA (c/n 2844, ex F-WWIH) was handed-over to the New Delhi-based airline. IndiGo, which has ordered 100 A320s, with five more due this year and all 100 due in service by 2016, launched commercial operations on August 4 with its inaugural scheduled service from Delhi to Guwahati.
Recently delivered to the Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana (FAE - Ecuadorian Air Force) and seen here at Quito International Airport/Base Aerea Mariscal Sucre during July 2006 is former Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB - Brazilian Air Force) HS.748 FAE743 (c/n 1729, ex FAB2506), one of two ex-FAB aircraft now in FAE service with Ala de Transporte 11/Grupo de Transporte 11's appropriately named Escuadrilla Avro. The second aircraft is FAE742 (c/n 1733, ex FAB2510). A total of five ex-FAB HS.748s are being acquired by the FAE to supplement its three surviving aircraft under a deal negotiated some time ago but only now being fulfilled. The other three aircraft will be FAE740 (c/n 1734, ex FAB2511), FAE741 (c/n 1731, ex FAB2508) and FAE744 (c/n 1730, ex FAB2507).
Centavia (Central European Aviation) is a new Serbian budget airline, based in Belgrade, which received its Air Operators Certificate for charter flights on July 7, 2006, following which it operated its first revenue service the next day from Belgrade to Corfu and Bodrum. Two former Meridians BAe 146-200S have been taken on lease from BAE Systems, the first of which, YU-AGL (c/n E2210, ex G-BVMP and l-FLRE) seen here, has now been delivered. The second aircraft, l-FLRI (c/n 2220), is expected to be delivered to Belgrade shortly.
Gulfstream announced on August 7, 2006 that the Gulfstream Aerospace Service Center at London-Luton Airport has gained official approval form the European Aviation Safety Agency to perform maintenance on G450 business jets registered in European countries. Seen here about to land at Luton on August 8 is new G450 HB-JEQ (c/n 4027, ex N627GA) in a very distinctive colour scheme. The aircraft was delivered on March 28-29 from the factory in Savannah, Georgia, via London-Stansted to Zurich, where it is being operated by G5 Executive AG on lease from 1427 (Guernsey) Ltd.
Eclipse 500 N126DJ (c/n 000002), the second production aircraft, flies into AirVenture 2006 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on July 29, 2006 in the colours of DayJet, which placed firm orders for 239 Eclipse 500s, with options on a further 70, in April 2005 for its on-demand, per-seat jet services. Eclipse gained provision type certification for the Eclipse 500 from the Federal Aviation Administration on July 27, with full certification expected to be granted by August 30. Eclipse also flew the first customer aircraft, N508JA (c/n 000001) for David Crowe, on July 23.
China Airlines has introduced two specially painted themed aircraft into service, including this new Airbus A330-302, B18311 (c/n 752), which carries large 'Sweet' titles on the rear fuselage along with illustrations of Taiwanese fruits. The aircraft was the tenth owned A330-300 to join the airline and was delivered from Toulouse on June 21, 2006. The other themed aircraft is Boeing 737-809 B-18610 (c/n 29105), which has been in service with the airline for some years but has now been painted in a special scheme featuring sprigs of lavender along the fuselage sides.
Airbus re-launched the A350 as the redesigned A350 XWB on the first day of Farnborough, and at the end of the week Singapore Airlines became the first customer to announce its intention to buy the remodelled aircraft, signing an LOI covering a firm order for 20, plus 20 options.
Updating progress on development of the Phenom 100 very light jet at Farnborough on July 18, 2006, Embraer reported that wind tunnel testing has now been completed. This 1:6 scale model was used for the three-stage tests, which began at the University of Washington Aeronautical Laboratory and continued in Brazil's Comando-Geral de Tecnologia Aeroespecial facilities before being completed by TsAGI in Zhukovsky, Russia. First flight is anticipated in mid-2007, with first deliveries in mid-2008.
AgustaWestland AW139 serial number 274, the first for the Irish Air Corps (IAC), was formally handed-over to Brigadier General Ralph James, General Officer Commanding, IAC, in a ceremony at Vergiate, Italy, on August 10, 2006, marking the first delivery of an AW139 to a military customer. Flying training of IAC pilots will now commence and continue until late October, when the second IAC AW139 will be handed over. A total of four of these helicopters are on order, whilst options are held on a further two. Role equipment includes AM/FM tactical radios, a forward looking infra-red (FLIR) camera with a fifth cockpit liquid crystal display mission display, abseiling and fast rope systems and a dual machine gun installation. The cabin can be quickly reconfigured from the troop transport role with ten crashworthy seats to the medical evacuation configuration with air ambulance equipment, plus seats for attendants. The IAC will use the AW139s for a variety of roles, including transport of special operation units, air ambulance, overland search and rescue and VIP transport. By mid-2006, over 190 AW139s had been ordered, of which 40 have now been delivered.
An artist's impression of AgustaWestland’s new AW149 medium helicopter, which is being specifically targeted at military customers.
Большая часть уникального электронного оборудования AEA установлена в отсеке, где у F/A-18F размещалась авиапушка, и в двух обтекателях на концах крыла. Оставшиеся девять подвесок предоставляют уникальную возможность для размещения на них различных видов боеприпасов, электронного и другого оборудования.
A ceremony at Boeing's Integrated Defense Systems facility in St Louis, Missouri, on August 3, 2006 saw the formal unveiling of the first EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, Bu No 166641, in front of a crowd of more than 750 US Navy customers, industry partners and Boeing employees. Rather surprisingly for a prototype aircraft, the Growler was already painted in the markings of one of the current EA-6B Prowler units that will receive the type, VAQ-129 'Vikings' at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington. First flight was due to take place later in the month, several weeks ahead of the originally scheduled date. Flight testing will then be undertaken at the Navy's facilities at China Lake, California, and Patuxent River, Maryland, through to 2008, following which the Growler will enter fleet service and achieve Initial Operational Capability with the US Navy in 2009.
Bell Helicopter completed the first two flights of its new Bell Model 445/ARH-70A Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter prototype, N44515 (c/n 53903), on July 20, 2006 at the Bell XworX facility in Arlington, Texas. Multiple handling manoeuvres were flown, with speeds reaching 80kts (148km/h), whilst the helicopter was flown up to 500ft (150m) and at bank angles of up to 39" during 1 hr 30mins of flight. Bell is now focusing on completing the remaining three test aircraft, N44548 (c/n 53904), N445AR (c/n 53905) and N445HR (c/n 53906). A Limited User Test is scheduled from late 2006 to early 2007, as a requirement to complete the production award criteria, leading onto the first US Army unit being equipped in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2008 and full-rate production in FY09.
Former China Airlines Boeing 747-409 N780BA (c/n 24310) nears completion of its conversion to Large Cargo Freighter configuration in Evergreen’s facility in Taipei, Taiwan. First flight was anticipated in August 2006.
Cessna's Next-Generation Piston aircraft prototype, registered N99110, during its flypast at Oshkosh on July 24, 2006, which has been the only glimpse of the aircraft in public since its first flight on June 23.
The existence of Lockheed Martin's P-175 Polecat unmanned air vehicle, developed by the Skunk Works, was revealed at Farnborough on July 19, 2006. The type has already made two flights on the Nellis test ranges in Nevada.
USAF/319th SOS Pilatus U-28A 05-0482 departs from Lajes/Terceira Airport in the Azores on July 9, 2006 en route to the US Central Command theatre of operations, with Afghanistan or Iraq its most likely final destination.
Former Air Canada Airbus A319-112 C-GKOC (c/n 1886) has been returned to its lessor and was rolled out at Toronto-Pearson International Airport on July 15, 2006 in the colours of Hainan Airlines prior to delivery on lease to the Chinese carrier.
Airbus A319-115X Corporate Jet 2801 (c/n 2801, ex D-AVWU), the first of two ordered in March for the Czech Republic Air Force, was formally unveiled in a ceremony at Hamburg on July 21, 2006. The aircraft is scheduled for delivery in December this year, once interior outfitting has been completed by Lufthansa Technik at its facilities in Hamburg. The second aircraft will be delivered in September 2007.
Airbus A319-131 D-AVXK (c/n 2850) 'Christian Valdemar Viking', which is due to become OY-KBO, is the first A319 for Scandinavian Airlines System and is seen here during pre-delivery test-flying at Hamburg/Finkenwerder on July 26, 2006. The aircraft is painted in a retro SAS colour scheme and was due for delivery to the airline in August.
Seen landing at Southend Airport, Essex, on August 3, 2006 after arriving from Gander is the second former United Airlines Boeing 737-322 for Arik Air of Nigeria. The aircraft, 5N-MJB (c/n 24360) 'Augustine', was painted in full colours at Barnes Municipal Airport, Dothan, with the Nigerian registration remaining displayed under the wing, but taped over with previous registration N354UA on the fuselage for the ferry flight. The first aircraft, 5N-MJA (c/n 24454, ex N361UA) 'Eddington', has undergone pre-delivery work with ATC Lasham at Southend and currently still remains there awaiting delivery.
Seen arriving at Southend Airport, Essex, on August 5, 2006 after painting in Aeroflot Nord colours at Amsterdam was former SkyEurope Airlines Boeing 737-5Y0 OM-SEA (c/n 25186), with new registration VP-BQI carried underwing but taped over on the fuselage. The aircraft is the first of five being leased by Aeroflot Nord and will undergo pre-delivery work at Southend.
Seen undergoing pre-delivery modifications with Voyageur Airways at Jack Garland Airport, North Bay, Ontario, on June 17, 2006 was Dash 8-Q402 N814WP (c/n 4017, ex C-GAFM), the second Q400 for Hawaii-based Island Air, which wears the airline's 'Island Style' colour scheme.
Boeing 747-4EVERF B-2439 (c/n 35170), the first of six ordered by Shenzhen, China - based Jade Cargo International, was delivered to the airline by Boeing on July 31, 2006 and entered service in the first week of August.
Delivered to Brazilian low-cost airline GOL on July 28, 2006 was Boeing 737-8EH PR-GTA(c/n 34474), the first of 67 737-800s which the carrier has on order for delivery through to 2012. The aircraft was also significant in being the first Next-Generation 737 with enhanced short runway landing and take-off capabilities. The design enhancements allow operators to fly with an increased payload in and out of airports with runways less than 5,000ft (1,524m) long. Modifications to the aircraft include a two position tail skid that enables reduced approach speeds, sealed leading-edge slats which provide increased lift during take-off and increased flight spoiler deflection on the ground to improve take-off and landing performance. The package is available as an option on the 737-600, -700 and -800, whilst being standard on the 737-900ER.
Wearing Boeing house colours but with the tail logo of launch customer Lion Air, the first Boeing 737-900ER was rolled-out at Renton, Washington, on August 8, 2006, accompanied by Indonesian dancers. The aircraft, a 737-9GPER, is c/n 35680 and will become PK-LAG with Lion Air but wore no external registration at the roll-out ceremony.
Farnborough Aircraft's F1C3 Kestrel high-speed, single-engined turboprop prototype, N352F (c/n 0001), undertook its first flight on July 29, 2006 at Bend, Oregon. The six-seat aircraft took off at 1508hrs flown by chief test pilot Graham Archer, who reported that the Kestrel performed flawlessly. After an initial flight-test programme at Bend, it will be flown to the company's UK base and then fly on to Abu Dhabi to undertake a two-week promotional tour. The aircraft, development of which was initially launched in October 1999, is to be manufactured by the Gulf Aircraft Partnership, a joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Air Maintenance Company (GAMCO).